The term Oriental Therapy refers to a number of different therapeutic practices that have been used in Eastern medicine and healing for centuries. A number of the different oriental therapies have found a place beside Western medicine, with many massage therapies having a basis in oriental practices. Oriental therapy is varied, with some of the most well known therapies including acupuncture, Shiatsu and Ayurvedic massage. The different types of therapy each play a part in the ‘big picture’ of healthy mind, body and spirit – which is the focus of Oriental Therapy.
In Oriental Therapies, the use of different techniques is applied to create a holistic balance between mind, body and spirit. Oriental refers to the broad geographical region from which the different oriental practices originated. This extends from India to Thailand, Japan and China. A common philosophy of mental health, physical health and well-being having an equal importance in the overall health of the individual is characteristic of Oriental Therapies. This underlying idea of ‘balance’ is reflected in oriental activities yoga and tai chi, which exercise mind and body. It is also a part of Thai massage, Shiatsu and Ayurvedic massage.
The work Chi means the balance of energy in the body. When someone is ill, injured or mentally stressed – this indicates an imbalance or blockage in Chi. When one area of life is weighing more heavily on other aspects of the mind, body, spirit triangle, then the person’s Chi needs to be corrected and allowed to start flowing again to improve their health and well being and restore their energy to its correct levels.
The focus on a health mind, healthy body and healthy spirit or overall sense of well-being reflects the holistic nature of Oriental Therapies. If someone wished to use Oriental Therapy for weight loss for example, then they would not be told to simply go on a diet. The use of Chinese Herbal Medicine may be one aspect of their treatment, lifestyle adjustments and the introduction of Tai Chi into their routine may be introduced, as well as the use of massage and the refinement of their diet. In this way, the therapy is encompassing the whole individual. Oriental therapies are often particularly popular for the treatment of musculoskeletal injury, taking a similar approach and helping to correct imbalance and restore the flow of Chi to help the body heal successfully.
One key reason for the popularity of this approach is that Oriental Therapies address medical issues from a holistic perspective. When dealing with musculoskeletal injury and illness, this holistic approach can be very effective. A combination of massage, corrective exercise and other related techniques to treat injury can have considerable success.
The use of Oriental Therapies and their application alongside of Western medicine has increased significantly in recent times. Therapeutic massage is one of the most popular therapies, while yoga and Tai Chi are popular forms of exercise that help the individual to gain improved physical fitness alongside increased mental alertness and an heightened sense of well being. The successful integration of these therapies alongside Western practices is likely to see their popularity continue to grow.